A tense buildup with a suitably happy ending.

BROKEN BEAUTIFUL HEARTS

YA veteran Garcia (The Lovely Reckless, 2016, etc.) gets hearts racing with a well-paced novel of romance and the sweet science.

Peyton is a biracial (Cuban-American and white) high school senior in Washington, D.C., who was just offered a spot to play soccer for her top-choice university program when an injury turns all her plans on their heads. This was no accident on the pitch, though: Peyton was pushed down a flight of stairs by her abusive mixed martial arts–fighting ex, landing on her knee. In the aftermath, in which her ex denies any wrongdoing and she receives anonymous threats, Peyton escapes by moving in with a beloved uncle and his twin sons in rural Tennessee. Though her hope is to focus on school and healing, fate has other plans as another up-and-coming kickboxing and MMA fighter, Owen, becomes an inescapable presence in her life. Peyton is wary of fighters and even more dubious about her own instincts, struggling with anxiety and post-traumatic stress related to her father’s death and her own assault. Though some readers may find the frequent alpha-male posturing thrilling and romantic, it becomes tedious after the third testosterone-fueled fight takes place only halfway through the book. If the reader can stick out the brooding and violence, the conclusion is satisfying. Owen is white and there is diversity among the secondary characters.

A tense buildup with a suitably happy ending. (Sports romance. 15-18)

Pub Date: Feb. 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-250-07920-6

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Imprint

Review Posted Online: April 10, 2018

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Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues...

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

He’s in remission from the osteosarcoma that took one of his legs. She’s fighting the brown fluid in her lungs caused by tumors. Both know that their time is limited.

Sparks fly when Hazel Grace Lancaster spies Augustus “Gus” Waters checking her out across the room in a group-therapy session for teens living with cancer. He’s a gorgeous, confident, intelligent amputee who always loses video games because he tries to save everyone. She’s smart, snarky and 16; she goes to community college and jokingly calls Peter Van Houten, the author of her favorite book, An Imperial Affliction, her only friend besides her parents. He asks her over, and they swap novels. He agrees to read the Van Houten and she agrees to read his—based on his favorite bloodbath-filled video game. The two become connected at the hip, and what follows is a smartly crafted intellectual explosion of a romance. From their trip to Amsterdam to meet the reclusive Van Houten to their hilariously flirty repartee, readers will swoon on nearly every page. Green’s signature style shines: His carefully structured dialogue and razor-sharp characters brim with genuine intellect, humor and desire. He takes on Big Questions that might feel heavy-handed in the words of any other author: What do oblivion and living mean? Then he deftly parries them with humor: “My nostalgia is so extreme that I am capable of missing a swing my butt never actually touched.” Dog-earing of pages will no doubt ensue.

Green seamlessly bridges the gap between the present and the existential, and readers will need more than one box of tissues to make it through Hazel and Gus’ poignant journey. (Fiction. 15 & up)

Pub Date: Jan. 10, 2012

ISBN: 978-0-525-47881-2

Page Count: 272

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: Jan. 10, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2012

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A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing.

THE STARS WE STEAL

For the second time in her life, Leo must choose between her family and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Princess Leonie Kolburg’s royal family is bankrupt. In order to salvage the fortune they accrued before humans fled the frozen Earth 170 years ago, Leonie’s father is forcing her to participate in the Valg Season, an elaborate set of matchmaking events held to facilitate the marriages of rich and royal teens. Leo grudgingly joins in even though she has other ideas: She’s invented a water filtration system that, if patented, could provide a steady income—that is if Leo’s calculating Aunt Freja, the Captain of the ship hosting the festivities, stops blocking her at every turn. Just as Leo is about to give up hope, her long-lost love, Elliot, suddenly appears onboard three years after Leo’s family forced her to break off their engagement. Donne (Brightly Burning, 2018) returns to space, this time examining the fascinatingly twisted world of the rich and famous. Leo and her peers are nuanced, deeply felt, and diverse in terms of sexuality but not race, which may be a function of the realities of wealth and power. The plot is fast paced although somewhat uneven: Most of the action resolves in the last quarter of the book, which makes the resolutions to drawn-out conflicts feel rushed.

A thrilling romance that could use more even pacing. (Science fiction. 16-adult)

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-328-94894-6

Page Count: 400

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: Nov. 10, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2019

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